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New Hemp Processing Facility Moving Into Union City

Matt Markgraf

  Union City City Council approved Tuesday night the sale of land at the Northwest Tennessee Industrial Park for $3.75 million dollars to build a hemp processing facility. City and county officials say the new company plans to invest $150 million into the 1-million-square-feet site and hire between 120 and 150 full-time employees.


Obion County Joint Economic Development Chair Art Sparks said the company plans to make hemp fiber, which could be processed into products like clothes. He said the company approached the city a month ago to begin negotiations, and some contract details to buy the land still need to be hashed out.


But he said with the swift pace the company is moving, he expects the company could be running by the end of this year.


“I’ve never seen anything like this…they just decided that this is where they want to be. This has been a very quick negotiation,” Sparks said. “I believe that once they get a signed commitment on both sides, they’ll work very quickly.”


Sparks said the company also plans to contract out 10,000 acres of hemp farmland and hire hundreds of people each growing season to harvest that hemp. He said as a part of an incentive to move to Union City, the company will not be paying any property taxes the first five years and pay only 50% of the property tax the next five years after.


Sparks said the city isn’t losing out on any tax revenue because the land being sold is owned by city, and the city didn’t collect property taxes because of that.


Union City Mayor Terry Hailey said along with the hemp processing facility, the site will also feature two greenhouses, a retaining pond and the company’s headquarters.


“We want to make every effort we can to have the people that move in with the corporate part of the business live in Union City, Hailey said. “Of course, we might need to build more housing for that.”


Hailey said the company could begin breaking ground as soon as late summer.


He said the company’s identify is remaining private because they want the company to announce themselves.


"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
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